Dashon Goldson, former Pro Bowl safety in San Francisco as a member of the Super Bowl runner up 49ers, has agreed to a five year deal worth an average just over 8 million per year to join the Buccaneers’ defense. The deal had been in the works overnight, which has given Buccaneer fans plenty of time to think over the possible addition of Goldson, and what it means for the defense moving forward. So what is my reaction to the news?
I absolutely love it.
Dashon Goldson is a perfect combination of hard hitting run defense and smart and athletic pass defense. Rotoworld describes him as “at his finest” when playing center field and in coverage. They also point out that the move will free up Mark Barron to play closer to the line of scrimmage more often in single high safety looks, which is the biggest impact this move has on the future of the Tampa Bay Defense.
Mark Barron was awful in coverage last year, but mainly because he was lost when left alone as a single high safety, or as a part of a Cover 2 look. He was indecisive on routes run in front of him, and struggled to keep up with switches when corners would allow their man past and into his coverage zone. With Goldson in town, the Hawk (as he goes by on Twitter) will patrol the deep part of the field, allowing Barron to play further up and have a more familiar perspective on the development of each play. Goldson would be able to do his thing on running plays as well, and run downhill to make a hit on the runner.
Goldson was excellent in coverage in 2012, only allowing one score, and limiting big plays all around. There are skeptics who question his coverage skills because some highlight plays show Goldson getting “burnt,” but Pro Football Focus reveals that he allowed only 10.5 yards per catch in 2012, and had a passer rating against of 44.8. He did struggle in the playoffs, but after having a solid year, he was due to average out a little. Consistency is one area he has to continue to improve, but he has taken great strides in his pass defending, and he is a clear upgrade over having Mark Barron as a single high safety, and he posted much more impressive numbers than Ahmad Black did when he was in coverage. Black will likely provide valuable depth for the Buccaneers in 2013, but Goldson will be a top flight safety who will likely make a third straight trip to the Pro Bowl at the position.
The most interesting aspect of bringing in Goldson is having a true safety who can help bring Mark Barron up to speed. Goldson had this to say after he was signed by the Bucs:
“I was actually taking a look at his style of play on film, and I think we’ll complement each other back there. I was fortunate to play with Donte Whitner and a couple guys, Michael Lewis, guys like this, but he’s a young stud. He’s young, and I think I can definitely help mold him into the kind of guy he wants to be, from a leadership standpoint and my style of play.”
Leadership is something that Mark Dominik mentioned in the press conference following the announcement of his signing, and was probably what made Goldson the Buccaneers’ top target in free agency. The thought of him being able to get the best out of Mark Barron makes for a very scary Buccaneer defense for years to come.
So what do you think, Buccaneers’ fans? How much better do you think the defense is with this addition? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.